Dabo Swinney

USA Today

A Nice Swift Ass Kicking

Clemson knocked Alabama the hell out.

January 08, 2019 - 9:24 am

Let’s go back about 24 hours. Back to before last night’s massacre. Back to when people were complaining about another Clemson-Alabama matchup and back to when Dana Holgorsen calling the game a coin flip yesterday on this show, seemed charitable to Clemson. Back to when Vegas wasn’t really giving an undefeated Clemson team a lot of love versus Alabama. Really, no love at all. Remember that time?

Now let’s go to Alabama’s first possession of the game.

That was a holy bleep moment. The comparisons to boxing are overdone, but that really was like coming out and landing a huge haymaker in the first round. Dabo talks about dominating the moment and Clemson dominated that moment. And just about every moment that followed. But more on that in a moment.

Let’s get back to the pick. Tua doesn’t make mistakes like that and Alabama doesn’t fall behind like that, at least not that quickly. 

But the Tide fumbled around on the mat for their mouthpiece and they found it.

And like that, it was on. 62 yards from Tua to Jerry Jeudy. Bama bounced back as you’d expect they would. That was a seriously impressive response from Tua. 

Because three plays later, Trevor Lawrence hit Tee Higgins for 62 of his own and Travis Etienne scored on the next play. And like that, it was on again. 

Alabama responded with a 10-play 75-yard touchdown drive and that was a moment for everyone who wanted this matchup. And all you dopes who were complaining you didn’t want it looked like fools. There was so much action, so many huge plays, not even the biggest hater could hate that. Worst thing ever? That was the best thing ever; and no one, anywhere could dispute that.

At that point in Clemson-Bama IV, I would’ve signed up for five more years of this. Hell, give me fifteen more years of it. Let’s just keep going with this until the sun explodes, because it does not get better than that.

The greatest Alabama team ever and a Clemson team that not only wasn’t afraid of them, but was, talking junk, and backing it up. 

And then Alabama promptly missed the extra point. In the moment, that seemed huge. It seems crazy that for all the talent that Alabama has, that for as dominant as this program has been, Nick Saban can’t recruit a kicker. He can recruit five-stars everywhere else on the field except the kicker. And it happens over and over again. And maybe this was going to be the time that it would come back to haunt them. Spoiler alert: it wouldn’t.  

Alabama chased that with a field goal to make it 16-14. Remember that score. Because that was the last time it was close. Clemson had a pair of touchdowns bookended around another Tua interception. If the pick-six was the worst pass of Tua’s career, the second pick was even worse. 31-16 at halftime. 

And if the game wasn’t over then, it was most definitely over on the first series after the half. Because that’s when Nick Saban, who looked like he was coming apart at the seams in the first half, completely imploded.

4th and 6 at the Clemson 22. He sends out the field goal unit. Roll it. 

Tua had already made the two worst passes of his career and that might’ve been one of the worst calls of Nick Saban’s career. A fake field goal run when Clemson was all over it. 

It wasn’t just that Clemson’s defense was waiting for it, the entire world was waiting for it. As a I tweeted when it happened, it’s not a fake if everyone knows it’s coming. Then it’s just a horrible rushing play. The worst rushing play ever. And instead of picking up six yards, which they were never going to do, they lost two.

And Saban admitted to his team and the world that he was desperate. That he and they were overmatched. Outclassed. Didn’t belong on the same field with Clemson. Clemson knew it. Everyone knew it. And at that point, the game was over. 

And the only thing worse than desperate… is dumb and desperate. The Nicktator going gimmick? And not just a gimmick, but a stupid gimmick. An obvious gimmick. And it was embarrassing.

And three plays later, Trevor Lawrence hit Justyn Ross for a 74-yard touchdown. Ball game. Beat down. 

At that point, Clemson could’ve named their score. If they wanted 50, they could’ve had it. If they wanted 60, they could’ve had that too. That’s how dominant they were. 

They called off the fight at 44-16 when they were driving and decided to remove their starting offensive line and Trevor Lawrence from the game. 

Think about that for a second: in the national championship game, against the alleged greatest team ever… Dabo literally had the time to take his starting offensive line and starting quarterback out of the game for a standing ovation. That’s how good Clemson is and that’s how brutal that beating was.  

Rarely is a beatdown really a beatdown, people usually say that as an exaggeration. In this case, it was more than a beatdown. More than a hospital job. More than a curb stomping. I don’t even really have a phrase to describe what that was. Go ahead and Pick your over the top metaphor, it fits here. Clemson just knocked Alabama the hell out. It was, to quote the late, great Pat Tillman, a nice swift ass-kicking of the alleged greatest Alabama team ever. 

Dabo didn't just put a clownsuit on Nick last night. He ran a lap around his program. He showed that you don't have to be a miserable red ass who looks just as bitter winning by 28 as losing 28 to be the best team in the country. And he planted Clemson's flag at the top of the college football mountain and it's not going anywhere any time soon. We know Clemson is here to stay. The question is, is that beginning of the end of the Saban dynasty?